Tuesday, March 25, 2008

US Iraq War Death Toll Reaches 4,000

Posted by Juan Cole, Informed Comment at 9:49 AM on March 24, 2008.

The Bush administration still has not told us why they died.

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Get War on Iraq in your

All hell broke loose again in Iraq on Sunday, with political violence killing nearly 60 persons according to official statistics.

A roadside bomb killed 4 US troops, bringing the total dead in Iraq on the American side to 4,000. The think I most mind about the deaths of those brave warriors is that our government has not been honest about why they died. We don't know the answer to that question. We've been lied to.

The Bush administration still has not told us why they died. It was not to protect the US from "weapons of mass destruction" (see below; that was a fabricated cover story). It was not to spread democracy. It may have been to nail down a major petroleum-producing country for US geostrategic goals (ensuring its resources were available to the US and could be denied if necessary to growing rivals such as China). If so, one has to ask whether the objectives (which were hidden from the American people) were the top priority for the US, or only for the petroleum industry; whether those objectives have been achieved; and whether there was another way to attain them. No such debate has ever been held. Was it in part to ensure Israeli security, as Mearsheimer and Walt argue (and Craig Unger implicitly argues, below)? If so, that should be stated, it should be debated. Even the former head of Shin Bet did not agree that it increased Israel's security. It is not right to ask men and women under arms to die for their country without telling them exactly how they are benefiting their country. For all we know, they have died so that Bush and Cheney could throw goodies to their "base," so that Halliburton could escape bankruptcy and Hunt Oil could get new development contracts.

The Green Zone was subjected to repeated mortar and rocket attacks on Sunday, which killed 1 American and 4 others inside, and at least a dozen on its edges (because those firing them were bad shots). The Green Zone is where the US Embassy and major Iraqi government buildings are. It had been a little safer recently, or at least the Pentagon was peddling that line to CNN during last week's commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the war (see the CNN piece below). It is a measure of how the war objectives keep being defined down, that for the Green Zone to be relatively safe was trumpeted as an accomplishment. The "green zone" was always supposed to be safe, since it was heavily guarded and surrounded by blast walls. I take it that the US ceasefire with the Mahdi Army has actually broken down, in part because the US army and its Iraqi allies keep arresting commanders of the Mahdi Army. The Bush administration attitude has been, that's not a truce, that's an opportunity to make a bust.

Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement is demanding that recently arrested members of the Mahdi Army be released by the al-Maliki government. If their demands are not met, they say, they will launch a general strike. I suspect that the shelling of the Green Zone on Sunday was proffered as evidence that they really would be willing to take extreme actions if that would free the arrested Sadrists.

CNN transcript of Kyra Phillips' interview. The clip below seems laggy but you get the idea.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday:

' Baghdad

- Around 6 a.m. four mortars hit the Green Zone, Iraqi police said.

- Around 8 a.m. A roadside bomb targeted Iraqi police patrol near the Shaab stadium, injuring three policemen.

- Around 11 a.m. Iraqi police said 6 rockets targeted the Green Zone, two of them hit the Green Zone and four others hit different areas of Baghdad. One hit a residential building in Kamaliyah killing five civilians and injuring 8, one hit cars parking yard near the Qadiri shrine in central Baghdad injuring 5 civilians. The other two hit different areas in Karrada causing no casualties.

- Around noon gunmen in three civilian cars opened their machineguns fire towards civilians near a cooking gas factory in Zafaraniyah, killing 7 civilians and injuring 16 others.

- Around 3 p.m. a suicide bomber driving a car bomb targeted civilians near a gas station in Shoala neighborhood, killing 5 civilians and injuring 7.

- Around noon a roadside bomb targeted civilians on Uqba bin Nafia square, injuring two civilians.

- Around 5 p.m. two rockets or mortar shells hit the Green Zone, a third missed its target and hit in Sadoun street, injuring one civilian, Iraqi police said.

- Around 8 p.m. a mortar shell hit residential buildings (called the Palestinians' buildings) injuring four civilians.

- At 8:26 p.m. several mortar shells or rockets targeted the Green Zone fell short and hit different areas 3 in Karrada and 1 in Arasat killing 2 and injuring 7 civilians. Another hit a house in Sadoun Street, killing 5 civilians from one family.

- Police found 6 dead bodies throughout Baghdad . . .


- Around 7 a.m. a suicide bomber drove his truck bomb into an Iraqi army headquarter in the industrial area west Mosul, killing 13 soldiers and injuring 30 soldiers and 12 civilians.

- A suicide bomber driving a car bomb targeted an Iraqi army convoy in Al Nour neighborhood in Mosul, killing one officer and injuring 3 soldiers and 7 civilians.

- A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army vehicle in Al Hadbaa neighborhood in Mosul, injuring 7 civilians.

- Iraqi police found one dead body in Mosul.


- Iraqi police said U.S. troops killed 14 men and injured five people including a woman then used aerial fire to hit four homes in Al Dahalga village (about 28 miles east of Baquba). The U.S. military said they killed 12 men that were a part of a suicide bombing network. . .

- Gunmen killed citizen Ali Hassan in front of his house in central Baquba, Hassan was returning home yesterday after he was displaced.

- Gunmen killed Brigadier General Akram Awad Radhi and his driver as he was heading back to Baquba from Abu Saida area (about 12 miles east of Baquba).

- Gunmen attacked policemen in central Baquba killing a police lieutenant and injuring two other policemen.

- A mortar shell slammed into Al Gatoun area west Baquba, killing two civilians and injuring one.

- A mortar shell slammed into Kanaan town (about 9 miles east of Baquba) injured an infant girl and a woman.


- Gunmen using two cars attacked an Iraqi army fixed check point to monitor a main road south of Kirkuk (about 16 miles) killing four Iraqi army soldiers and burning their Humvee.


- A suicide bomber driving a car bomb targeted the house of Al Muatasim town (about 12 miles south of Samarra) mayor yesterday, killing 3 policemen and injuring two civilians. '


Tagged as: us military casualties, iraq

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and is author of the forthcoming "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East."

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